HMD today announced a trio of new smartphones – the Nokia G60 5G, C31 and X30 5G – and claimed the X30 5G to be the “greenest smartphone” ever produced. All three phones focus on Europe and stand apart from the range of devices that HMD sells in the US.
In addition to being sold outright, the Nokia X30 5G will be one of the few phones available through HMD’s new subscription service called “Circular”, where customers can subscribe to get a handset for a monthly fee and receive incentives to use a phone for as long as possible. Circular will initially be available in the UK and Germany, but HMD is planning a global launch “in the coming months”.
HMD justifies its green claims about the Nokia X30 5G by the amount of recycled materials used in the construction of the handset. It features a 100% recycled aluminum frame and a back panel made from 65% recycled plastic, and comes in a box made from 70% recycled paper. The company also says it will support it with three years of OS upgrades and monthly security updates, and offers a three-year warranty as standard.
Trying to produce a more eco-friendly smartphone is a laudable move, but HMD’s efforts lag behind those of sustainable smartphone specialists Fairphone. Although its most recent device, the Fairphone 4, does not use recycled aluminum, its back cover is made from 100% recycled plastic, its solder is made from 100% recycled tin, and it uses fair gold and conflict-free tungsten. Fairphone aims to support the phone with five years of security and software updates instead of three, and also designs its devices to be as easy for the end user to repair as possible, with batteries removable that can be simply replaced when they degrade and other removable components with simple screws. None of these feature on HMD’s Nokia X30 5G.
When I posed these questions to HMD, its global product marketing manager, Adam Ferguson, told me that the company had decided to initially focus on plastic and aluminum because there is a relatively large amount of materials that go into a smartphone. “Our main goal is to tackle what we consider to be the two most important things where we can make the biggest difference. [and which] will have the biggest impact on e-waste,” Ferguson says, but adds that HMD’s “next step” will be to look at other areas where it can improve the durability of its devices.
Aside from its durability credentials, the Nokia X30 5G is a fairly typical mid-range device. It’s powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 695 processor with a choice of 6 or 8GB of RAM and 128 or 256GB of storage, and features a 6.43-inch 1080p OLED display with a 90Hz refresh rate. to the rear there’s a 50-megapixel main camera with a 13-megapixel ultrawide, and there’s a 16-megapixel selfie camera. The phone will be available later this month with prices starting at £399 (€529).
Alternatively, the X30 5G will be available through HMD’s new Circular subscription service, where it will cost £25 per month with a £30 start-up fee in the UK. The idea is that, rather than buying a phone outright, customers can lease their handset for a minimum of three months on a rolling subscription contract. The catch is that they then return the device to be recycled or reused at the end of the subscription. HMD also hopes to encourage customers to use the devices longer by offering credits that can be invested in charitable causes.
Alongside the Nokia X30 5G, HMD is announcing two additional smartphones today. First there’s the Nokia G60 5G, a £249 (€319) handset that’s also powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 695 processor and includes a three-year warranty plus three years of security and Android updates. However, it starts with just 4GB of RAM and 64GB of expandable storage, and features an LCD display instead of OLED. The screen is 6.58-inches, with a refresh rate of 120Hz. On the back, it has a trio of cameras: a 50-megapixel main camera, a 5-megapixel ultrawide, and a depth sensor of 2 megapixels. It’s available from today in the UK and will also be available on Circular for £12.50 per month with a £30 setup fee.
Finally, there’s the Nokia C31, a $129 handset that HMD claims can deliver three days of battery life thanks to its 5,050mAh battery. It’s powered by a Unisoc 9863A1 processor, with a choice of 3 or 4 GB of RAM and between 32 and 128 GB of expandable storage. Its screen measures 6.7 inches but is only 720p, and its trio of rear cameras are led by a 13-megapixel main sensor. HMD promises to support it with two years of security updates, but it won’t receive any major Android OS updates. UK availability has yet to be announced.